I’m not quite a quarter of the way through Rebecca West’s monumental travelogue of pre-World War II Yugoslavia. It’s wonderful stuff, and there’s seems to be a quotable passage on just about every page. I started it while on a trip, which seemed appropriate. Christopher Hitchens wrote the forward this edition, and while I usually skip long introductions, this one was very much worth reading and I’m glad I stuck through it. It’s easy to forget what a formidable writer he was.
Things have been very busy around here lately - lots and lots of things happening to fall on the onset of summer. Retreating into book and study has been a blessed relief. The vegetable garden is off to a good start and I hope to do a little antenna construction in another couple of weeks when (ho, ho) things calm down a bit. Not sure what book(s) will be going into the on-deck circle.
I heard an interesting review the other day of the late Tony Horwitz’s Spying on the South, and may add that. Just seems like a travelogue sort of season. I’m also pursuing catechetical certification from our diocese, by way of completing a series of online training modules. I recently completed the first lesson of the first module and can now use homoosious correctly in a sentence.
Speaking of mysteries, I’ve been in pursuit of a minor one concerning some utility lines which cross our property. We live on about 5 acres of land and there are a couple of old poles carrying lines on to (and off of) the property into parts unknown. Vines are beginning to completely consume one pole and I was a little hesitant about cutting them myself, owing to a profound respect for high voltage. My wife suggested we ask the local power company to take care of it so we called them and they sent a man out. He looked at the poles and declared two things. First, the lines were almost certainly not carrying power. Second, they did not belong to our local utility. I called our county planning office, and they sent me to the register of deeds, who in turn suggested I come by to look through property records. Someone along the line would have granted an easement to someone else for the poles and I’d need to find the transaction by hand.
On a whim (well not quite a whim - the local utility guy suggested it), I contacted the TVA and they responded nearly immediately. The easement was theirs, and they moreover sent me an image of a document dating from 1920 showing the transaction, signed by the person who owned all this land at the time. Now I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I am tempted to petition the TVA to abandon the easement, or the piece of it that crosses my yard at the very least. On the other hand, disappearing back into obscurity also has its appeal and the last thing I want to do is stir up some big institutional machine into deciding that, hey, this easement is actually pretty cool and we were just thinking about re-energizing everything along there. In any case, a couple of semi-abandoned poles have some interesting HAM RADIO potential, as long as no one’s going to throw a switch at some point in the future.